a lot of internet peoples have heard/used the phrase “somebody get this freakin’ duck away from me!” and know it as a ridiculous thing Strong Bad yelled while being chased by the dragon from adventure on the main menu of homestarrunner.com.  but i think i know where the idea originally came from: an article in electronic gaming monthly’s january 2005 issue (#187) entitled “child’s play II” (scroll down to the adventure section), where – before the whole kids react youtube thing – they had a bunch of kids sit down with a 2600 and sling slander at the games that shaped a good portion of my generation.

here is the adventure “review” in its entirety:

Bobby: A duck ate me.

EGM: What ate you?

Parker: A pink duck.

EGM: What do you think this character’s name is?

Parker: Dot. Or Adventure? That’s what this game is, isn’t it? Go up, go up, go up.

Bobby: Stupid duck. I hate the duck. The duck is evil.

Parker: Go left, go left, go left. Grab the arrow. That’s the only way you can kill the duck. You have to run that into the duck.

Garret: It’s a spear or something.

Bobby: [Enters castle] I’m just going to store all my keys and all my useless stuff in here. I’m going to store my duck in there.

EGM: Do you identify with this dot character?

Garret: No. The dot is small. I am not.

Bobby: Yeah. My best friend, he looks just like this dot: small, handsome and adventurous.

EGM: How long would you put up with this game?

Garret: I could put up with this game for five more minutes.

Bobby: I could put up with this game for hours, but I’m so easily amused. How about we just pretend this is the new Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater game.

Garret: You go ahead and do that, Bobby.

Bobby: Maybe it’s all about a small dot that has nothing better to do in his life and he’s being chased by dots because nobody likes him in school.

EGM: What if we told you the ducks were supposed to be dragons? [Everyone laughs]

Bobby: Never get near this game. It’s addictive.

Parker: Ah-you’re trapped. You’ll be eaten by the duck.

EGM: Addictive in what way?

Bobby: Because you want to beat the level and find out what this nonsense means.

Parker: But you can’t do anything because you’re stuck behind the duck, or the dragon or whatever.

EGM: What is this game missing?

Parker: Like, action. But it’s for the Atari so it’s boring.

Bobby: I like the whole dot idea, but it should be a 3D dot with laser arms that can do Matrix moves. Pachoo! Pachoo! Pachoo!

Garret: How do you have a 3D dot?

Parker: Like a cube?

EGM: Would you want your parents to buy this for you?

Everyone: No!

Bobby: If it was 25 cents and came out of one of those gumball machines, yeah, I’d buy it.

Dillon: And do you think people actually paid to do this and it was a big deal?

Parker: It probably was.

Bobby: This is like Pong. Everybody thought it was amazing and good, but now we’re just thinking, “Oh, it’s only a good loading screen for Test Drive.”

Dillon: And to think 20 years from now, people are going to think, “Oh, you’re playing [GameCube Zelda game] Wind Waker? That’s boring.”

EGM: What are you going to say when your kids say Wind Waker looks boring?

Parker: Get out of my house. You’re out of my will.

EGM: Don’t you use your imagination right now to imagine that’s a warrior running around?

Garret: No. It’s hard to make the comparison.

Bobby: He gets eaten by evil ducks. Or “dragons.” How could you think he’s a warrior.

Rachel: It’s hard to make comparison between a little dot and then jumping to Zelda and the new and improved games.

EGM: So you think [Zelda’s] Link is a better hero than the dot?

Bobby: Yeah, Link is a lot better, because he has his catchphrase: “Yeeaaah!”

EGM: Wait, Adventure’s dot has a catchphrase. [Turns up TV volume. Game makes bleeping noise.] [Everyone laughs]

Rachel: It sounds like my alarm clock.

Parker: Did this game do really well?

EGM: Would it surprise you if we told you it did?

Parker: Not really, because it was Atari and was state of the art back then.

Bobby: And because people were stupid and like addictive games. People were like, “Wow-such good graphics! I mean, they got a dot with a key. Woooh!”

that, i believe, is where the adventure-dragon-is-a-duck idea originally came from.

i had this particular issue of egm and remember the spit-take that nearly happened when i read the first line – at this point my daughter was 6 and i swore she would have more respect for the classics that these kids.  of course, several years later when i sat her down for a demonstration of the awesomeness that was the original legend of zelda, she said, ‘wow.  nice “graphics” dad,’ and trailed sarcastic air quotes all the way out of the room…  i died a little inside.

kids.  :/

anyways, if you’ll excuse me, i have some ducks to slay with this giant arrow – maybe then i’ll know what all this nonsense means.  BEEP!